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Use old ipad as always-on wall mounted family organiser/info center Answered

Hey everyone

I was looking at a bunch of instructables today for making a Magic Mirror, and I love the idea of making one. Could be a good info hub in my kitchen potentially, but then I figured that as much as I like the idea of building one, 1) I'm a little limited on time currently, and 2) I have an iPad (3rd gen, first one that got the retina screen) that really doesn't see much use now.

So I figured that might be a good starting point until I have more time to build something from scratch, specially since it's touchscreen which is ideal for adding stuff to lists or amending things etc.
I'm not worried about it being a mirror, but basically I want it to meet the following (approx) criteria:

1) To remain with the screen always on - (think you can just set it to never lock in settings and this would do that?)
2) To ideally be widget based content, to include such things as:

  • Weather
  • A family based calendar (that individual calendars on other devices can link to preferably)
  • Reminders
  • Imminent events (for say the next 3 things in the calendar perhaps)
  • Shopping list

Now after some searching I can see there are quite a few family organiser type apps, but having gone through a bunch of them I can't quite find anything that suits quite what I had in mind because of the following sort of issues I've encountered:

  • App needs to be on newer version of iOS (can't update this ipad to 10 or higher - it's forever to be on 9.x)
  • Apps don't have weather and/or aren't widget based (or pleasing to the eye)
  • Apps are for the iPhone not iPad, so don't look great.
  • Don't let you change the interface/layout.

So I've got tired of looking for the right app for this after setting up different accounts on loads of apps then finding they're not to my liking for one reason or another, and am wondering more if there's something like a web based tool that would give this sort of customisable functionality, or something I could install on my local network (even on my nas since that can run apps & services etc (synology diskstation)) that will give a local web page that the ipad could maybe just permanently display/interact with on safari or something?

Grateful to hear what people would suggest for accomplishing what I want for this project.
Maybe there's an existing app that can display modular/custom content, which would be ideal since it would keep the touch screen input for stuff like shopping lists etc?
I'm going to mess about with Magic Mirror anyway and see what I can do with that, but appreciate any cool suggestions on different tools to try.

Thanks! :)


Phil B

1 year ago

if you want a mirror, couod you set the camera to view what is in front of the screen? Someone used an old iPad loaded with a time-to-words display clock. I have an iPad 2, which is probably even older than your iPad, but, I am guessing on that. I have decided to stop OS updates with 8.

Mr JoshuaPhil B

Reply 1 year ago

Hi Phil - many thanks for the reply

Yes I think that's doable with the camera one way or another I'm sure, but in all honesty the whole mirror thing was that I'd spotted people had made various different ones and they looked great as an aesthetically pleasing info centre, but the touchscreen function of the ipad is a bigger plus point really in respect of being able to instantly update content on the spot.

I think the mirrors are a more common thing though as people are more likely to have old monitors lying around than "spare" ipads, and there's obviously more 'making' involved compared to just configuring some sort of software setup etc.

I'll have a look at that time-to-words thing you mentioned, but have a suspicion I might end up having to settle for some sort of generic app compromise.

Phil BMr Joshua

Reply 1 year ago

People on Instructsbles have built word clocks with a lot of effort and numerous parts, as well as programming. I found a free app., but the free version says, "About five o'clock." where the paid version would say, "four fifty-three." But, the free version does allow the display to be in any one of several languages you choose.